The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hindu Aikya Vedi protests Kerala Govt. Support to Missionaries and Indifference to Hindu Victims

Thiruvananthapuram, April 12, 2005
KeralaOnline.com

Thousands of tsunami victims from all over the state of Kerala converged in front of the secretariat under the support of the Hindu Aikya Vedi to protest against the indifferent attitude of the Christian Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s government towards the relief operations.

"Though it is almost three months, the government has not done anything to help the victims who lost everything in the tsunami attack," General Convener of the Aikya Vedi Kummananm Rajasekharan said.

"The efforts of Amritanandamayi Ashram were sabotaged by the state government at the instance of a minister in the state cabinet to serve the interests of his Church," he added.

This protest follows the publication of the investigative report in “Organiser” newspaper on April 10, 2005 called “A Kerala Newsletter : Tsunami victims await the elusive relief” written by journalist Kumar Chellappan (which is reproduced below)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=72&page=4

There are two kinds of relief and rehabilitation works going on in the state of Kerala. While the villagers of Alappad in Kollam district and Arattupuzha in Alappuzha district who lost everything in the December 26 tsunami attacks struggle for survival in the temporary relief camps, another operation is underway at Poovar, a coastal village near the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Poovar witnessed a communal riot between the Muslim and Christian communities. More than hundred huts belonging to the Muslim community were burnt down. The ruling Congress and the opposition CPM took no time in announcing the reconstruction of the burnt down huts. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declared that the Kerala Police Housing Construction Corporation would build new and permanent houses in place of the huts which were destroyed in the fire. Funds were not a problem for Chandi. He has got the tsunami relief fund worth billions of rupees collected from Malayalees all over the world. In a gesture of crash appeasement of the minorities, the Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader laid the foundation stone for the houses to be built for the Muslim community at Poovar.

Construction is underway at Poovar. No Christian missionaries are to be seen at Poovar area. There are no proselytization gangs offering relief to the ‘victims’ at Poovar. The Christian missionaries know quite well that if they trespass into the Muslim dominated areas, they may not come back alive. Since both the Congress and CPI(M) could not put the blame on both the and Christian communities, they blamed the RSS for the clashes at Poovar! There is not a single swayamsevak or a Hindu family in the area which witnessed the riots.!!

LDF, UDF compete for communal vote

But what is saddening is that the Kerala government led by Congress has not done anything to help the tsunami victims of Alappad and Arattupuzha villages. Though Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, the head of the Amrita Mutt announced Rs 100 crore as the first installment of the relief and reconstruction works for the tsunami victims, Chief Minister Oommen Chandi did not allow her to build houses for the poor.

The Chief Minister wanted the Christian missionaries to get a foothold in the villages so that they can proselytize the Hindu dominated areas into Christian communities. While the Kerala Government declined to entertain the request by Amritananda-mayi to allow the Mutt to build all the 1700 houses ravaged by the tsunami waves, Oommen Chandy was enthusiastic in allowing various Christian Missionaries to operate in these villages. The Christian Missionaries are in an aggressive mood of proselytisation. They go to all Hindu families and tell them that the tsunami attacks are because of the wrath of God over them for worshipping idols. Most of these villagers are fisher folk and illiterate. The Missionaries distribute bibles and pendants free of cost to these villagers. They also tell the villagers that it is only because of them being Hindus that they are not getting proper houses and other relief materials from the government! The Holy Mother requested the government for permission to rebuild the houses at Alappad because she was born and brought up at the village and knows the place and people like the back of her hand.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference and other organizations owing allegiance to the Churches are given preference and special treatment. They have been given permission to build houses for the victims of tsunami without any preconditions. Even Sister Nirmala Joshi, the Head of the Missionaries of Charity landed up at Alappad with the aim of fishing in troubled water.

While the victims of the tsunami attacks continue to suffer silently, what happened at Poovar is a study in contrast. The Hindus are born to suffer. Muslims and Christians get special treatment. That has caused heartburn among the Hindu community all over the state. The Marad massacre in which eight Hindu fishermen were butchered by Muslim fundamentalists itself brought out the double standard of the UDF Government. The Araya Samajam (Association of the Fishermen Community) and the Hindu Aikyavedi had to resort to a number of agitations to make the government come round and announce compensation to the close relatives of the Marad victims.

While the government was quick to announce cash compensation and employment to the widow of a National Development Fund (NDF, a Muslim fanatic organization) worker who was killed in a group clash, the tsunami victims belonging to the Hindu community have been left in the lurch.

The other day saw the CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan writing a two-part article in the party mouthpiece Deshabhimani praising the virtues of Islam and Christianity. He even attended a seminar called by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar and eulogized the Islam much to the amusement of the hardcore fundamentalists. The voting pattern for the Assembly election scheduled for 2006 has been fixed. The Muslims in the state will vote for CPM and the Left Democratic Front in return for the latter’s assurance on the implementation of the Narendran Commission Report which recommends a certain quota for Muslims in government jobs.

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